On Tuesday, lawmakers in the House passed legislation that makes it harder for areas to restrict hunting and fishing on public lands and ensures that lead will continue to be used in bullets and fishing tackle. The bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate.
Republican sponsors of the bill say it is aimed at protecting American sportsmen, but Democrats have accused them of pandering to the gun lobby, calling the legislation unneeded because 85 percent of Federal land is already open to hunting.
The law requires Federal land managers to support hunting and fishing on Federal land, but allows them to close the areas for reasons of national security or fire safety. Upon doing so, they must submit a detailed report to Congress explaining the reasoning behind restrictions.
Anti-lead groups that have argued that lead poisons the environment are dealt a blow in the bill, as it blocks the Environmental Protection Agency from requiring alternatives to lead be used in fishing tackle and ammunition.